RPD: Man robs bank, nearly runs over officer during chase

Rochester Police investigate a scene on Melville Street where a suspect was taken into custody after allegedly robbing a bank on East Avenue. (WHAM photo)

A man is in custody after Rochester Police say he robbed a bank and nearly ran over an officer when he tried to flee.

Rochester Police say Robert Williams, 46, robbed the M&T Bank on East Avenue just before noon on Saturday. They say he never showed a weapon, but threatened to shoot a bank teller if she did not give him money.

He fled and officers pursued him through neighborhoods on the city's northeast side.

Rochester Police focused their investigation on Melville Street after receiving information the suspect was in the area. Officers Kelly Mackin and Nicholas Thomas reportedly approached a parked car. They say the vehicle pulled into a driveway, backed out of it then sped away. Police say the vehicle sped toward Officer Mackin, but did not strike her.

Officer Mackin was not injured, but did shoot at the vehicle. The suspect was not hit by gunfire.

"The officer's obviously shaken up a little bit," said Rochester Police Deputy Chief La’Ron Singletary. "She has one year and three months on the job. This is the first time she's fired her service weapon in the line of duty."

The suspect then took off, drove across some lawns, then struck a vehicle on nearby Laurelton Road before taking off on foot.

13WHAM's Samantha Miles spoke with neighbors where the scene ended just outside their homes.

Nick Tachco was moving into his new home when he says Williams slammed into his car.

"Our movers were out here and we heard them all scream and they came in and grabbed me to let me know someone's car had been hit," Tachco explained. "My car was originally parked on the side of the street and when I came outside, it was in the neighbors front yard! Completely off of the street and up on the grass. Crazy."

Williams was apprehended soon after on Laurelton. The stolen money was also recovered as he was taken into custody. Court papers revealed Williams stole $3,819.

As a precaution, both the officer and suspect were taken to a local hospital to be checked out. The officer was shortly discharged from the hospital.

Williams is charged with robbery, grand larceny, reckless endangerment and aggravated unlicensed operation. He was arraigned on Monday and pleaded not guilty.

Police say Williams has several prior convictions - including seven felony convictions and 10 misdemeanor convictions.

Officer Mackin has been assigned to administrative duty in accordance with policy. Officer Thomas, a 12 year veteran to the force, remains in his current patrol assignment.

13WHAM will provide more updates as they become available.

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